Tim's Takeover: What's It All About?

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I’m Tim Kidd, my volunteer role in Scouting is Chief Commissioner of England. Wayne is on holiday so I get the chance for a spot of blog hijacking!

My Scout role includes speaking engagements; representing England Scouting in policy making; and supporting the strategic management and development of the Movement. I am also a Training Adviser locally in Oxfordshire and occasionally help at the local Scout Activity Centre – Youlbury.

That’s enough about me, now for the blog...

An admission

My name is Tim Kidd and I am a Scout. I have been a Scout for 40 years –there has not been a moment since I was eight years old that I have not been a Scout. Like many of you reading this blog, I feel that Scouting is a part of my very being.

Scouting changed my life as a young person; it helped me to try activities that I would never otherwise have contemplated. I really have stood on the top of mountains simply because I was a Scout. Scouting gave me skills and confidence that I use as an adult – in fact I wouldn’t have the job that I have today if it wasn’t for what I have learned in Scouting.

What is important about Scouting?

It is odd, but true, that I feel somehow connected to the 28 million Scouts in the world through some invisible thread. And as I ponder what that invisible thread might be, it strikes me that it is the ethos or values of Scouting – something that you can’t see or touch, but you can see the result of in the way that people act or treat one another.

Every week across the UK more than 500,000 people enjoy their Scouting. Scouting gives young people the chance to taste adventure in a safe environment and to build skills for life. Young people take part in a huge range of activities – but Scouting’s purpose is much more important that simply giving young people a great time.

For me, the most important thing that Scouting does is to give young people the chance to grow in their understanding of themselves and the world around them – and to use that understanding to help make the world a better place.

When is something 'Scouting'?

In the quiet moments of the evening, I think about what it is that makes what we do really 'Scouting' rather than simply 'activities'. My take is that it is about how we do things, not so much about what we do or what we wear when we are doing it.

If I think back to my time as a Cub Scout, what stands out to me are the friendships that I formed, the conversations that I had and the skills that I learned (together with my inability to catch a ball eight times out of ten that somewhat held up my award of the Bronze Arrow!). My main memory of uniform as a child is that the Cub jersey of the day scratched me intensely and was very uncomfortable. So if I had not worn the Cub jersey, would it mean that I was no longer doing Scouting?

If I was asked to define Scouting, I would say something like 'young people working together based on the values of Scouting', along with learning by doing, taking part in activities indoors and outdoors, and taking responsibility together with making the Promise and living by the Promise.

I think that we sometimes get sidetracked by the things that we can see (and are easier to complain about) than the really important point of Scouting: how we help young people to make a positive contribution to society.

Commitment and values

As I have travelled around England over the past few months, it is exactly the people that I have met that have reminded me of the importance of Scouting. From Stratford-upon-Avon’s District centenary celebration to Northumberland’s boating extravaganza and from Greater London North East’s AGM to the opening of a new building at Ferny Crofts campsite in the New Forest, it is always the commitment and values of the adults and young people that impress me and make me proud to be a Scout.

Over to you

So if you were challenged to define what Scouting was, what would you say? Let me know by commenting on this blog and sharing your view of Scouting with others.

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